President Trump’s prime-time Supreme Court nominee announcement Monday was witnessed by a live television audience of nearly 26 million, according to Nielsen data — a sizable viewership, but smaller than his last.
Roughly 25.6 million people tuned-in to major broadcast and TV news networks Monday evening to watch Mr. Trump nominate Brett Kavanaugh to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy — about 21 percent fewer than the nearly 33 million who watched live last year when the president picked Neil Gorsuch to replace late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, AdWeek first reported.
Fox News was the most-watched network during Monday’s announcement, attracting more than 6.6 million viewers between 9 and 9:15 p.m. that night —more than triple the roughly 2 million who watched MSNBC during that same span, and over four times CNN’s audience of nearly 1.6 million, according to Nielsen data reported by AdWeek.
ABC placed second in terms of total viewers during Monday’s announcement with an audience of about 5.25 million. It outranked its cable and broadcast competitors in terms of the most coveted demographic for advertisers, however, reaching roughly 1.68 million viewers between the ages of 25 and 54, the report said.
Nominated to the Supreme Court by former President Ronald Reagan in 1987, Justice Kennedy announced June 27 that he would retire this summer, effectively giving Mr. Trump his second opportunity to fill one of the bench’s nine seats and secure a conservative majority — as well as ample time to tease his decision through several tweets sent in the days leading up to Monday’s announcement.
The 25.6 million figure cited by Nielsen covers viewers who watched Fox News, ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, Fox and CNN during Mr. Trump’s announcement Monday, and excludes smaller networks and other formats. Over 900,000 people have watched a streaming video of the announcement posted by Mr. Trump’s Twitter account, and another 20,000 have watched a video uploaded to the White House’s official YouTube channel.
Mr. Trump’s first State of the Union address in February, meanwhile, attracted a live television audience of about 45.6 million, Nielsen said previously. Mr. Trump falsely claimed afterwards that the audience was “the highest number in history,” while Nielsen statistics suggest former President Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush all received higher ratings during their administrations.
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